“DEATH PANELS” ?– NO– End of Life Panels– YES

Medical ethics will never be divorced from personal beliefs and politics. 

A prime example is the concept of end of life planning.  Representative Earl Blumenauer, Democrate from Oregon had introduced a provision into Medicare to cover voluntary discussions between a physician and patient regarding advance directives and treatment preferences at end of life. http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/28/death-panels-this-time-maybe-not-so-scary/?ref=health

Unfortunately the right wing of the Republican party seized on this valuable undertaking and slapped it with the perjorative, “Death Panels”.  The term stuck and the plan was shelved.

 Now I am no fan of Obamacare for a slew of reasons– but this is one of its original tenents I could have supported.   It appears that cooler heads are now reintroducing this important concept to Congress and the public domain.

As Blumenauer points out, advance directives offer the individual an opportunity to have input into their personal philosophy of life and end of life.  It should help with an increasingly opaque and confusing process that occurs when loved-ones are dying. 

I believe that these end of life discussions will not completely resolve the controversy and anguish that occurs when decision-making falls into the hands of health care proxies at the end of life.  But they are imperative nonetheless.


NOTE– I will beginning a year long course in BioMedicalEthics sponsored by my medical school alma mater– Albert Einstein College of Medicine commencing September 11. Of interest to me is its co-sponsorship by Montefiore Medical Center where I spend three years do an Internal Medicine residency.  It is being held at Cardoza Law School in Greenwich Village.  I intend to use this blogsite to share some new insights with my readers

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